The Season 1 - Fellowship & Fire OST is available now on YouTube, Amazon Music, and Spotify. To celebrate its release, we caught up with the Audio Team for a glimpse into their creative process. Listen to and learn more about the Empyrean Forge music below.
Season 1 - Fellowship & Fire Music
Bring your favorite tracks outside of Aeternum:
Empyrean Forge Expedition Audio
This Expedition features a fiery aesthetic and unique audio fitting for an ancient forge. Audio Director Jean-Edouard Miclot walked us through transitioning the Expedition’s themes into sound effects, instruments, and more.
“I saw an early look of Commander Marius,” said Jean-Edouard (Jed) Miclot. “There was a lot of fire everywhere and I was worried that he'd end up sounding too noisy. He had a metallic helmet with two big horns and held a large axe that kind of looked like he was from an 80's heavy metal band. His animations almost mimicked someone playing an electric guitar so I think I swore at this point and said, why not in New World?"
“I ran all sorts of metallic sounds through a bunch of guitar distortion units and recorded an hour's worth of electro-acoustic screams and slides that I used for his movements. It had a lot of attitude but Marius was still missing a voice. I looked at him closely and saw a face in fusion so I searched for metaphors from the real world. What could breath and evoke fire? I ended up using a Firefighter SCBA recording for his breathing which was kind of a cool nod to my favorite villain Darth Vader.”
“For his grunts and efforts, I used lion roars processed through a granular patch that I made in Kyma just because it sounded like a vicious beast trapped in a resonating metal cabinet. That did the trick!”
“After Marius was finished, I started wondering what kind of music would fit a similar style and landed in the electro-metal genre. It's a little bit backward when you think about it because we usually start working on an Expedition writing music to set the mood but this time, we started setting the tone with the Final Boss sound effects and that actually felt refreshing.”
“I quickly ran a popular wavetable synth through the same guitar distortion pedals and it gave me a low crackling texture that almost sounded like fire. I was sold at this point and decided to make all the music for this Expedition only with that synth.”
“We had a lot of gear wheels of different sizes spinning in the Expedition and we knew it would have sounded too noisy with traditional sound effects. So we wondered again, what if those metallic elements could replace the drums and play in the environment in sync with the electro-metal music?”
“Good news, our audio engineer Terry Jones just happened to finish a new tool that could let us sync SFX to the beat of music, yay! It's only when Michael Finley synced all his metallic clunking sounds to the music tempo that we really started having a ball.”
"After listening to the sound work Jed did for Commander Marius, I was inspired to push it to the edge when crafting the sounds for the gears in the dungeon," said Senior Sound Designer Michael Finley. "I wanted them to sound more than just basic ‘clicks,’ ‘clunks’ and ‘clanks.’ Since Marius was a little more mechanical in the audio approach, I thought how could we flip it on its head to make the gears sound more alive?"
“That idea lead us to approaching the dungeon space itself as a living breathing character,” said Michael. “And then we had the thought, what if the clock gears would play in time with the music tracks? We were able to have all of the gear sounds play in time with the music at 80 beats per minute, which really gave a sense that the Expedition was like a living breathing entity."
Helping Players Through Sound
“The Design Team made a couple of elaborate glyph puzzles,” said Jed. “One side gave the players a random sequence of symbols and on the other side, players had to enter the same combination to unlock a gate.“
“Traditional inharmonic SFX are too complex to memorize but I remembered a game from our childhood (which I won't name for legal reasons) that played a sequence of tones that was easy to memorize. So I created a set of notes with my synth in the same key as the music to help the players and that felt better.”
“This Expedition was missing a finale though, something just for fun as the players would stand on the edge of the bridge looking at the portal,” said Jed. “Terry gave us a way to control VFX using audio so I quickly made a dirty retro synth track and pulsed the portal VFX to the beat of music. The track didn't fit the rest of the soundtrack so I put a 15 sec delay to make sure most players wouldn't hear it, kind of like an easter egg if you want but it didn't last long until someone noticed it and spilled the beans.”
For more insight into the Empyrean Forge Expedition, delve into its lore and design. Thanks for your support! We’ll see you in Aeternum.